Friday, March 16, 2012

Activities connected to the history of Northern Michigan in the Lake Paradise

Activities connected to the history of Northern Michigan in the Lake Paradise region:


Places to visit:

Cross Village, on the shores of Lake Michigan, was once a thriving fishing and lumber town, exists on the northwestern tip of the Lower Peninsula. The settlement is considered as one of hte oldest settlements in the state and it has strong ties to the Ottawa Indians. This group has their original homelands in Manitoulin Island which is near the north shore of Lake Huron and on the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario, Canada and in the state of Michigan. Cross Village, according to historical records has a long history. Historical records indicate that the Jesuit, Father Jacques Marquette had placed a huge white cross on the bluff overlooking Lake Michigan before his death in 1675 here. This was according to historical records considered an important meeting place for the twenty tribes who lived in this region and it became known as “Land of the Cross”.
This region also has ties to Bishop Frederic Baraga who came to the region, from Slovenia, in 1830 to serve the local indigenous Native population and the isolated small communities here. He is well known for speaking and having developed written Native languages, spreading the Gospel among the local Ottawas and Ojibwe and creating the first dictionary of Ojibwa and English. In 1853, Baraga was elevated to Bishop and became the first Bishop in Upper Michigan. Father Francis Xavier Pierz, who knew Baraga and was also from Slovenia, was based in Cross Village for a long period of time many years but he eventually left in 1852 to the Minnesota Territory in 1852.
             Emmet County, in 1855 was reorganized and four new townships were created. One of these was "La Croix", whch means “The Cross” in French”, and in 1875 it officially changed its name to Cross Village. The Holy Cross Church whose members were principally Ojibwe was used tunil at least 1930. A replica of the cross erected by Father Marquette exists on the edge of the bluff and is visible far from the shore.
            The village is also known for the “Tunnel of Trees” which is a portion of M-119 which is a breathtaking scenic drive down the winding Lake Michigan shoreline between Cross Village and Harbor Springs to the south. The drive is famed for its fall color scenery. Cross Village also hosts “Blissfest” which is a summer folk festival and the annual pow wow. Blissfest takes place on the Festival Farm on Division Rd. The area around the village is considered as a protected nesting ground for the endangered piping plover.

The Mackinaw Bridge connecting the upper and lower peninsula's of Michigan. It is currently the third longest suspension bridge in the world. The bridge opened to traffic on November 1st in 1957 so that people could cross by car, rather than by boat, the Straits of Mackinac. It is 5 miles long and it is possible to walk across it during the annual Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk.

This is a reconstructed fort built during the 1770s which functioned as a for as well as a fur trade post. Today it can be visited and children and family can play games from the colonial period, be a voyageur in a reenactment, or drill in the King's Army. It's possible to watch an ongoing archaeological dig and visit the thirteen reconstructed buildings from the fur trade period, displays, and the demonstrations such as open hearth cooking, Native American crafts, as well as cannon and musket firings displays.

It is also possible to visit five historic buildings from the 18th built in French-Canadian style of the period so as to see how they function at this time. Inside each building various activies are taking place.

It contains the colonial Michilimackinac, the historic buildings as well as Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum which provides people to view historic treasures from the Mackinac State Historic Parks' collection. It is designed to contain the art of the island in one building created over a two hundred year period.

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